Australia’s mining goddess acquires Fairfax media

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart grabbed the largest stake at Fairfax Media with additional 42 million shares costing $25 million which she bought in just one transaction today. This increased her total share at the company to almost 15 per cent from 13 per cent, The Australian reported.

Gina Rinehart grabs Fairfax. (Photo: Patrick Hamilton/Perth Now)

Rinehart bought the shares at a price of 60 cents per share. The trade was worth $25.2 million representing 1.8 per cent of Fairfax’s total issued shares, the AAP said at noon.

Perth Now, however, is following up latest developments including a dramatic approached for 235 million shares which was made after the local sharemarket closed, with the offer available till 8pm.

Fairfax is one of the two biggest and most influential media conglomerates in Australia, along with the News Limited owned by the old-rich Rupert Murdoch’s clan.

Perth Now also noted Canberra Media analyst Peter Cox who believes Rinehart is increasing her stake to boost her influence in national affairs. He said Rinehart has already acquired Ten News as a financial investment.

“So this has to be driven by her view on politics in Australia…What’s the point of spending that money on it if you’re not going to have influence?”

The latest stake must be a way to go forward fulfilling the prophesy of climate sceptic Lord Christopher Monckton who advised the rich to capture the media to advance free-market agenda.

Australia’s mining magnates: Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart, Andrew Forrest

Monckton spoke last year to free-market think tanks in WA on “How to better capture the Australian media to help push a right-wing, free-market and climate sceptic agenda.” It was a boardroom meeting hosted by the Mannkal Economic Education Foundation, a group chaired by mining “Hall of Fame” member Ron Manners to promote free-market ideals and low government intervention.

ABC’s The Drum said Manners is a member of Gina Rinehart’s lobby group ANDEV, which has been joined by the Institute for Public Affairs to lobby for a separate low-tax low regulation economic zone for the north of Australia to make mining projects easier to develop.

The original version of the video has been deleted from You Tube, but GetUp reposted it with transcription capturing Monckton’s verbatim sinister claims:

Is there an Australian version of Fox News?… No….

Frankly whatever you do at a street level, which is what you are talking about here, is not going to have much of an impact compared with capturing an entire news media.

You look at the impact that Andrew Bolt has had since he was rocketed to fame and that is the way to do it, you have to capture the high ground of what are still the major media, and what will remain for quite some time.

And until we crack that one both in the UK and Australia, we’re going to suffer from an disadvantage, against the more libertarian right-wing minded people in the United States…who have got Fox News and have therefore got things like a Tea Party, have at last put some lead into the pencil of the republican Party.

And it seems to me that putting some time into encouraging those we know who are super rich to invest in perhaps even establishing a new satellite TV channel is not an expensive thing, and then get a few…Joe Novas and Andrew Bolts to go on and do the commentating everyday—and keep the news free and fair and balanced, as they do on Fox. That would be breakthrough and give to Australia as it has for America a proper dose of free market thinki

The Australian said Rinehart admitted her desire to control two board seats at the media company which publishes The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age in Melbourne, and the Australian Financial Times. The company also controls the auction website TradeMe, as well as the Southern Cross Broadcasting network of radio stations.

Amid mining boom, Rinehart was also the first mining magnate to get the approval from the Federal Government to import 1715 foreign workers under a new type of 457 visa for the three-year construction phase of Roy Hill iron ore mine in Western Australia.

Caricature to mock Rinehart’s foreign workers (By Nicholson)

The scheme angered local workers and labour unions. Labour observers said Rinehart will take advantage of skilled foreign workers that come with cheaper wages.

This year, the BRW magazine named Rinehart as theworld’s richest woman with $29 billion mining fortune making her $3 billion richer  than Christy Walton’s, the widow whose inherited wealth springs from US retail giant Wal-Mart.

The ABC said “Ms Rinehart has ridden Australia’s resources boom like no-one else; her wealth ballooning by an unparalleled $18.87 billion in the past year….That equates to $1,077,054 every 30 minutes of every day.

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Australia’s mining tax and CIA conspiracy

The mining tax has dominated Australia’s political landscape this week.

The Senate passed the mining tax on Monday imposing a 30 percent tax on super profits generated by mining companies from coal and iron ore. The tax revenue will be used to elevate income and pension funds of the less well-off Australians and to cut tax on small businesses.

This sent shockwaves to the mining industry which could have been rejoicing over mining boom worldwide.

Mining magnate Clive Palmer hits CIA of mining conspiracy

Queensland mining magnate Clive Palmer lashed out at the federal government and claimed the CIA is behind the mining tax as part of America’s conspiracy to kill Australia’s coal industry.

Palmer also accused the Greens as “tools” of the US government and the environmental activists group, Greenpeace, is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

He said he will lodge a double High Court challenge on both carbon and mining taxes.

But his accusation hits back like a boomerang.

The CIA via ABC email denied his claim prompting him to back away from inflammatory comments, Fairfax reports via SBS.

Crikey, an alternative online media said,

Now Clive Palmer again has demonstrated the eccentricity that comes from having so much money you don’t have to care what anyone thinks of you…

Palmer is doing no more than continuing Queensland’s rich tradition of conspiracy theorists, which has produced the Citizen’s Electoral Council and Pauline Hanson, to name only the most prominent of recent years. Nor is it the first time he’s accused people of being a CIA front — back in November, it was American Express who were doing the bidding of the spooks.

Palmer could probably find consolation in knowing another mining group, Fortescue Metals, confirms it has sought legal advice ahead of plans to mount a High Court challenge against the Federal Government’s mining tax, News Corp said.

Chairman Andrew Forrest of Fortescue Metals leads a protest against mining tax during Kevin Rudd’s time

Fortescue claimed the MRRT is a poorly designed tax, drafted by the big miners behind closed doors to minimise their tax exposure at the expense of the rest of the industry,” the company said in a statement.

The Government is also facing a revolt from Liberal-led mining states.

Western Australia’s Premier Colin Barnett, for one, says he will support any legal action against the tax.

Not Amused

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Bob Carr blasts Palmer’s “reckless” CIA conspiracy claims

He said the “recklessly irresponsible” claim that the CIA is sponsoring a campaign against the coal industry will trigger concern from the United States government and business community.

Carr said the comments should also make many Australians question  Palmer’s links to the Opposition. He said Palmer is very close to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Palmer is considered the largest donor to the Liberal Party.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr

Treasurer Wayne Swan has also denounced Palmer’s claims. He supported Carr’s claim the mining businessman “is in cahoots with Mr Abbott.”

Federal Greens leader Bob Brown has echoed the remarks of Carr and Swan saying Palmer is a life member and a major donor to the Queensland Liberal National Party.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace senior campaigner John Hepburn rejected Mr Palmer’s comments as “ludicrous”. He said Greenpeace would not accept money from any government, corporation or secret service.

The mining tax was initiated almost two years ago, floated by former Treasury boss Ken Henry. It originally proposed a 40 percent tax on super profits—a proposal that stirred an industry-wide opposition rocking the Labor Party’s leadership. It was the same tax proposal that ousted Kevin Rudd from prime ministership in 2010.

Rising to power, Prime Minister Julia Gillard negotiated a modified tax rate with BHP, Rio and Xstrata although smaller miners remain unhappy with the deal.

The Mineral Resources Rent Tax (MRRT) Bill 2011 and related bills are now ready for the governor-general’s royal assent. The mining tax will start from July 1 this year, Australian media report.

The federal government estimated the new tax will generate $11 billion in three years which will be used to elevate income of the less well-off Australians. It will boost compulsory superannuation contributions, infrastructure payment and a one per cent tax cut for business.

The Australian, however, is pessimistic over the tax. Its editorial page said:

While this newspaper recognises the benefit in ensuring that some of the revenue generated by the once-in-a-generation mining boom is secured for future generations, this tax will do little to drive reform in the slower sectors of the economy while the fastest-growing sector is slugged with a tax that could damage our competitiveness.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott supports Palmer

I defence of Palmer, Abbott said he was a “larger than life” character.

“I think when he says that the Greens want to stop the coal industry he’s absolutely right – of course the Greens want to stop the coal industry,” Abbott told Channel 10.

Abbott is vowing to repeal the tax if he wins the next election.

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